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December 17, 2014

Sweet and sour slow cooker red cabbage with apples and onions {vegan, gluten-free}

Slow cooker red cabbage, just as good on hot dogs as on the holiday table! #vegan #glutenfree #crockpot

Nothing revolutionary here, just a reliably delicious traditional side dish that you can serve hot or cold. In fact, my husband Ted's first reaction after taste testing was, "This would be great on a hot dog!" And so you see it, served at room temperature, piled on an organic beef hot dog. Ted was absolutely right; it's a great pairing. I'd love to see this sweet and sour cabbage on the holiday table, slightly warm and oh-so-holiday-red. The stunning color and tangy flavor, which comes from a mix of vinegars, compliment a range of menus, from Christmas goose to roast chicken to fish tacos. The recipe calls for pomegranate vinegar, which I buy at Trader Joe's (or online); if you can't find this, substitute a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar plus a teaspoon of red wine vinegar, or swap in pomegranate juice. Top a rice bowl with red cabbage and some chunks of cheese, for a quick vegetarian lunch. With five minutes of prep, you can set cabbage in the slow cooker to do its thing all day, while you are at work or running errands. Make it a few days ahead, and let it get happy in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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December 14, 2014

Shredded Brussels sprouts salad with dried blueberries, pecans, and maple-miso dressing {vegan}

Thinly shredded Brussels sprouts with dried blueberries get tenderized by maple dressing. A quick and easy salad! #vegan #salad

A huge stalk of Brussels sprouts, on sale at the local market for $4.99, caught my eye last week. Too large for the grocery bags I'd brought, the stalk nestled under my arm as I left the store. By the time I arrived home, I had lost the will to cook, but not the will to eat. This salad requires no cooking, save a brief toasting of the pecans while you're throwing everything else together. You can make the maple-miso dressing ahead of time, and store it in the refrigerator for a week or more. Trim the sprouts and toss them into a food processor fitted with a slicing blade, to save time. Or attack them one by one with a sharp knife; cut off the very bottom edge, slice each sprout in half lengthwise, and then make cross-wise cuts to get very thin pieces. The blueberries add extra antioxidant power to an already-powerful side dish, but if you can't find them, swap in dried cranberries, which are available in any grocery store. And to serve as a vegetarian main course or Meatless Monday entrée, add some crumbled feta or blue cheese.

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December 13, 2014

Cinnamon: like or dislike?

Cinnamon

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, even favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell.

Ah, the aroma of cinnamon. Can there be winter holidays without it? In everything from mulled wine, to spice cakes, to beef stew (yes, really!), the scent of cinnamon evokes snowy days, nights in front of the fireplace, and gatherings of family and friends. Cinnamon is considered a "warm" spice, but really good cinnamon has a bit of a peppery undertone. Do you remember the difference between cinnamon and cassia? (Hint: it's all in the quills.) Which do you prefer?

Cinnamon: like or dislike?

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December 10, 2014

Pressure cooker split pea soup with (or without) sausage

Split pea soup (with or without sausage), made easy in the pressure cooker.

In my dinged-up, bright red, cast-iron Dutch oven, I make a pretty mean pot of split pea soup, which just happens to be my very favorite comfort food on days when there's snow to be shoveled. Or when I have the sniffles. Or when I'm craving soup, which really does happen. I've been making split pea soup the same way forever, until this year, when I first tried it in my electric pressure cooker. Oh my oh my. The pressure cooker traps all of the flavor, and softens the split peas so the immersion blender simply has to nudge them into silkiness. Compared to my stove top version, and despite using the exact same ingredients, the pressure cooker version is downright ethereal. Add your favorite mild or spicy sausage, or not; I love this soup either way. It's a great make-ahead-and-freeze soup for your winter soup swaps, or quick worknight dinners with a green salad and crusty bread on the side. And if you don't have a pressure cooker, you can make split pea soup on the stove top or in the slow cooker.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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